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Creativity is being crushed by businesses focused on traditional recruitment credentials

Businesses looking to scale up and recruit more talent often overlook creativity, focusing instead on more traditional credentials.
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Businesses looking to scale up and recruit more talent often overlook creativity, focusing instead on more traditional recruitment credentials.

This is according to brand consultancy company CAB Studios, which commissioned a white paper called “Power to the Consumer”. The white paper explored how brands need to evolve to keep pace with the customer age.

The report concluded that, in the social media age, for a business to scale effectively it needs to deliver a clear physical and emotional experience for its customers, with brands consistently failing to understand these changing dynamics.

Successful customer relationships are disruptive, memorable, engaging and personalised – both Lush Cosmetics and Argos were praised for performing well in these areas. A creative approach was cited as necessary to get this right and connect with people on a more fundamental level.

CAB Studios has called on businesses to stop imposing rules on minimum qualifications when seeking out talent so that creativity and marketing ability can be recognised and utilised, rather than being wasted due to red tape. It questioned whether it was worth disregarding an applicant for failing to achieve a 2:1 at university, even though they have proven prowess on social media, for example?

“Of course, education and training are important, but creativity isn’t bestowed on someone based on qualifications,” explained Ben Wood, executive creative director at CAB Studios.

“Ultimately great people are the ones that create memorable and engaging customer experiences, so businesses that take a narrow approach to recruitment will fall behind in the increasingly competitive customer age.”

Sarah Hopkins, a non-executive director at REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) and director of Hopkins Longworth (recruitment and search agency), believes that, while the importance of creativity depends on the role, there is a balance to be found.

“Grades are a good indicator of previous performance and the candidate’s ability to apply themselves to achieve something. All employees are looking to recruit people who can apply themselves effectively to succeed,” she said.

“What gives the ‘magic edge’ is someone who has good grades plus creativity – and there are plenty of ways to demonstrate this, even for those with limited industry experience. It could be that the candidates have gained creative skills through hobbies such as acting or sport; or by taking part in activities such as STEM competitions. As an employer, you are always looking for marginal gains – and these types of activities in addition to good grades demonstrate such marginal gains.”

This article is part of a wider campaign called the Scale-up Hub, a section of Real Business that provides essential advice and inspiration on taking your business to the next level. It’s produced in association with webexpenses and webonboarding, a fast-growing global organisation that provides cloud-based software services that automate expenses management and streamline the employee onboarding process.

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About Author

Letitia Booty

Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Real Business. She has a BA in english literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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